Kevin walked away from the camp and into the darkness under the trees. His contact had said he would meet him by the river. Bending over, he picked up a few small rocks from the ground and wondered how far he would have to walk upstream before meeting him. The light from the campfire flickered faintly between the trees behind him. He tossed a rock and watched it skip across the water in the pale light of the waning moon. A man stepped out of the trees ahead of him, squatted down, and cupped an hand in the river. He did not take a drink.
Kevin walked over and stood next to him, waiting patiently for Maurice to stand up again. He was not wearing his tunic or tabard, only a shirt and breeches. He wiped his wet hand on his leg."Are you ready?" Kevin asked.
Maurice nodded. "I'll pick up the final message in Chapman and then come back to West Egg to deliver it."
"Do you think he'll listen?"
"Gods willing and a miracle occurs. But I doubt it."
Kevin nodded. That was her way, just as it had been her father's way: the carrot, then the stick.
"Are you ready?" He asked again.
Maurice stared at the river for a long time before answering. "I know what I'm doing." he said. "I volunteered for this."
They both stared at the rushing water.
Reaching into a pocket, Maurice pulled out a piece of paper and handed it to him.
"My dearest friend," Kevin read to himself, "I am delighted that your breeding plan has been so successful and I look forward to seeing you in West Egg. Will you be bringing Captain's Fancy with you? Unfortunately, I have personal business that will take me away before you arrive and I will be unable to meet you. However my brother has graciously offered to take my place and he looks forward to seeing you. Please send word as you arrive and I will put the letters in his trust. I look forward to our discussions upon my return. Most Sincerely, ~ R." Kevin read the note once more, then tore it into pieces and scattered them in the water. He watched the current carry the scraps away and sink into the mud. Turning back to Maurice, he held out his hand.
"Good luck. Weaver smile on you. Lady grant you peace."
Maurice clasped his hand, "Same to you. Gods grant you success." He held his hand for a moment longer, then turned and walked back into the trees.